5 Ways to Spend More Time on the Things That Matter to YouBy Homaira Kabir
It’s no secret that our lives will be over one day. The busyness, the running around, the involvement in a hundred things will all come to an end. And what we'll leave behind is not the to-do lists we ticked off or the disjointed activities we halfheartedly engaged in. It’ll be the big things that mattered deeply to us, that helped us leave the world a little better than we found it.
Lives today don't make it easy to spend time on these bigger things. The distractions that surround us, the endless choices we're bombarded with, the calls to do more and to do better are incessant. We stuff our schedules and our minds. We try to do it all and eventually burn ourselves out. Or we give in to the distractions and leave our best lives behind.
Why are we so susceptible? It’s partly our biology—we seek pleasure and live for the dopamine high it brings. This wiring is so deep that we even fear missing out on the promise of pleasure. FOMO (fear of missing out) is a very real emotion for many of us, constantly fed by the world we live in.
There are also the social influences around us. How many people do you know who reply to "How are you?" with "Busy"? Having ample time on your hands is hardly considered a symbol of success unless you're one of the rich and famous. And those of us who use distractions or grittiness to hide our "unworthy" insides are even more imprisoned by this world of nonstop activity.
If you feel the frustration of not living the life that truly matters to you, here's good news: You don’t have to change everything all at once. Building a legacy is the work of a lifetime, and small and steady steps keep you on a journey you're unlikely to give up on. Here's how to build a life you value:
Rule #1: Know Your Priorities
There's nothing like knowing where you need to go in order to get there! Many of us don't; we live by default and react to whatever comes our way. Being clear on your priorities allows you to live by design, to respond to life's distractions, and to set goals that are aligned with your values. Here are some questions that can guide you: "What is the difference I want to make?" "Who are the people I want to spend my time with?" "What are the passions or needs that I want to attend to?"